Post Storm DC: Deflect, Distract, Deny

September 14, 2017


study released Friday by Metstat, a weather-analysis company specializing in “detailed precipitation analysis” and “weather frequency analysis,” found that Harvey delivered a stunning once-in-25,000-year deluge over much of southeast Texas.

Some places saw an unimaginable once-in-500,000-year deluge, which translates to a 0.0002 percent chance of this deluge occurring in any given year. Probabilities that extreme “are calculated by extrapolating the distribution curves for precipitation observed over the last century,” Metstat’s Shauna Bokn explained.

Since global warming has been making extreme precipitation events more likely, however, the U.S. won’t have to wait 25,000 years to witness the next event of Harvey’s proportion. That’s especially true the longer the country is forced to reckon with President Donald Trump’s effort to undermine domestic and global climate action.

You may have read that Hurricane Harvey was a once-in-a-1000 year storm. It turns out that’s true if you look only at the highest one-day rainfall total.

But what made Harvey a truly off-the-charts storm is that it stalled in place for days while maintaining much of its strength. This led to five-day rainfall totals that blew past the previous all-time record for the continental United States of 48 inches. The National Weather Service recorded an astonishing total of 51.88 inches of rain in Cedar Bayou, Texas.

“Many textbooks have the 60-inch mark as a once-in-a-million-year recurrence interval,” the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang pointed out in late August. (Thankfully, Houston’s rainfall totals didn’t reach that mark.)

To do its analysis, MetStat used an approach based on “average recurrence intervals” — essentially, how long we would expect to have to wait for a Harvey-level deluge to occur again in a given area, based on historical rainfall records.

McClatchy Newspapers:

NAGS HEAD, N.C. All along the coast of the southeast United States, the real estate industry confronts a hurricane. Not the kind that swirls in the Atlantic, but a storm of scientific information about sea-level rise that threatens the most lucrative, commission-boosting properties.

These studies warn that Florida, the Carolinas and other southeastern states face the nation’s fastest-growing rates of sea level rise and coastal erosion — as much as 3 feet by the year 2100, depending on how quickly Antarctic ice sheets melt. In a recent report, researchers for Zillow estimated that nearly 2 million U.S. homes could be literally underwater by 2100, if worst-case projections become reality.

This is not good news for people who market and build waterfront houses. But real estate lobbyists aren’t going down without a fight. Some are teaming up with climate change skeptics and small government advocates to block public release of sea-level rise predictions and ensure that coastal planning is not based on them.

“This is very concerning,” said Willo Kelly, who represents both the Outer Banks Home Builders Association and the Outer Banks Association of Realtors and led a six-year battle against state sea-level-rise mapping in North Carolina. “There’s a fear that some think tank is going to come in here and tell us what to do.”

The flooding and destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey has again highlighted the risks of owning shoreline property. But coastal real estate development remains lucrative, and in recent months and years, the industry has successfully blocked coastal planning policies based on ever-higher oceans.

Last month, President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era executive order that required the federal government to account for climate change and sea level rise when building infrastructure, such as highways, levees and floodwalls. Trump’s move came after lobbying from the National Association of Home Builders, which called the Obama directive “an overreaching environmental rule that needlessly hurt housing affordability.”


8 Responses to “Post Storm DC: Deflect, Distract, Deny”

  1. Ron Voisin Says:

    Please, let’s invest here (as steep as it is – the foregone future of poor people) so that we never again experience climate change.

    We’re just now in charge of climate, and if we don’t act quickly, we will lose that control.

    Thank god there are those of us who realize our culpability, and our immediate need for change, so that we can ever survive the planet if not ourselves.

    The emanate need to climb under rocks is evident everywhere we might look.

    Thank heavens there are, self acclaimed, cancers like dunboldguy still available (in spite of his commitments to “off”himself) to guide us through these trying times.

  2. dumboldguy Says:


  3. indy222 Says:

    I guess the climate loonies who can both type and put together a sentence with any coherence are spread too thin to allocate here.

  4. webej Says:

    Ah. The fiscal conservatives double down and hope investments on shore-front properties will grow the economy so much that we don’t care about the extra flood ‘insurance’ disbursements.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: